There's an interesting and intensifying dilemma on the hands of decision makers at the San Diego Unified School District: Lengthen the school year or shorten the school year?
Faced with unprecedented budget challenges, the district is contemplating avoiding teacher layoffs by shortening the school year and implementing furloughs, but officials are also getting $37 million in stimulus money from the federal government that is targeted at improving the performance of disadvantaged students. One of the innovative ways the district is looking to address that issue is by lengthening the school year at underperforming campuses, reported the voiceofsandiego.org.
"Studies show that students, especially those who are learning English as a second language, experience a loss of learning over the summer,” said Bernie Rhinerson, chief district relations Officer for SDUSD. "One idea on how to best use this stimulus money for the next several years is to focus on the lowest performing schools and expand the year or do specialized summer programs".
The district doesn't have the stimulus money yet but will be ramping up discussion in coming weeks as the board mulls budget options. Students and parents should find out by summer whether the lengthened school year idea becomes reality and which schools are affected. The district is required to pass a budget for the next fiscal year on or by July 1.